You’re allowed to say period #justsayperiod
Can we talk about periods for a few minutes? I promise, it won’t be that bad. But dudes, you are permitted to avert your eyes.
Knowing is half the battle
As a die-hard fan of tracking data and then analyzing it for insights, I am surprised I hadn’t discovered the wonder of cycle tracking earlier. I mean, yes, I’ve been tracking periods using PinkPad on my iPhone for years, but it was only this past year that I decided to investigate how to learn more about the mysterious and ever-changing tides of hormones that turn my mood from sunshine to sour in 2 seconds flat.
The same AI tech that is working to help solve cancer can also help us predict crazy symptoms and crazy moods! Hallelujah! Some of the apps we’ll be talking about even allow our partners to get updates (and warnings?!) on where we are in our cycle. Please, my lady friends , don’t underestimate how much impact the torrent of hormones has on your moods, energy, cravings and even memory and brain function!
The rundown on my favorite period-tracking iOS apps
I tried the top period-tracking apps for iOS and ended up settling on Flo as my favorite. It has a good and intuitive interface, good graphs for tracking all your usual symptoms, and it can automatically import your calories, workouts and walking distance from iHealth or Fitbit. You can track sleep, weight and water intake as well. Once you’ve tracked a complete cycle or more, it starts to give you insights on your patterns, like what days of the cycle you typically have specific symptoms, as well as getting more accurate about predicting when your period will arrive. It has way more charts and graphs than the competitors do for visualizing your data, which I love, and it allows you to export reports to give to your doctor.
It also has you complete an optional profile when you load the app so it can tailor itself to your preferences and lifestyle. You can see how other users answered those same profile questions as you proceed. Flo has some of the usual learning articles that they provide, as well as social features so that you can discuss your period with other users. It even has a pregnancy mode so that you can instantly transition into tracking and counting down the days until you give birth.
Clue also gets points for having a simple interface and being gender-neutral. It allows you to enter your daily activities and customize exactly which symptoms and data points you wish to track, but has a few less options for logging symptoms and specifics. I found it a bit clumsy sometimes to go back in and enter data when you have missed a few days and to scroll through the large icons for the symptom tracking. But a bonus is that you can also share your cycle with someone and track someone else’s cycle. Clue is a female-led German-based company with a great blog who is putting efforts in to socialize and normalize periods around the world.
I would characterize Eve as the Cosmo of period tracking apps. It’s focused on a younger market and has a youthful, cheeky tone of voice. They provide optional “gems” of advice which you can turn on or off for different categories. Eve also gives you stats on your “cycle twins” which are other users on the same date of their cycle, but comparative insights are only available in the pro version at $48 a year. Pro also includes direct messages, additional “gems and prizes” seemingly sponsored by period-related brands. Eve, irritatingly to me, heavily pushes the social community aspect, bubbling up conversations from other women about different period and sex-related topics. I would prefer not to discuss my periods with randos in the app, and instead focus on what I can learn about my unique patterns. But I understand why many want to connect about an issue that unfortunately it’s socially taboo to talk about.
Last, but certainly not least, is another app I adore, and use in conjunction with Flo. Hormone Horoscope. It gives you more specific information about how your increasing and decreasing estrogen and progesterone impact your moods, energy and cravings on each day of your cycle. So you can read your customized hormone horoscope each day. I like it so much I have purchased the Pro version, which gives longer scopes with more detail. I find it particularly relieving when, after an especially emotionally challenging and draining day, I look at my hormone horoscope and discover that it was most likely because I was at my lowest point in the cycle. And that things will most likely improve tomorrow.
Spread the word, know your body
Hormone imbalances and sensitivities can lead to not only moodiness and irritability but to more serious issues like PMDD and postpartum depression, among others. One of the first steps you can take to help your doctor diagnose such issues can be cycle and mood tracking. Whether you have “standard PMS” or more serious symptoms, I strongly recommend you track your cycles and learn more about yourself in the process. And share and talk about these issues to reduce the stigma associated with simply being a woman.